Two major stories on the cybersecurity front to report.
AT&T sells your data, for a fortune
The first item comes from Ma Bell, who’s been helping folks spy on you and pocketing a fortune for doing.
From the Guardian:
Telecommunications giant AT&T is selling access to customer data to local law enforcement in secret, new documents released on Monday reveal.
The program, called Hemisphere, was previously known only as a “partnership” between the company and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for the purposes of counter-narcotics operations.
It accesses the trove of telephone metadata available to AT&T, who control a large proportion of America’s landline and cellphone infrastructure. Unlike other providers, who delete their stored metadata after a certain time, AT&T keeps information like call time, duration, and even location data on file for years, with records dating back to 2008.
But according to internal company documents revealed Monday by the Daily Beast, Hemisphere is being sold to local police departments and used to investigate everything from murder to Medicaid fraud, costing US taxpayers millions of dollars every year even while riding roughshod over privacy concerns.
Internet of things becomes a federal priority
After last week’s massive attackj on online services, carried out through baby monitors, security cameras, and other devices connected to the Internet of Things, Uncle Sam is getting busy.
Obama administration officials sought on Monday to reassure the public that it was taking steps to counter new types of cyber attacks such as the one Friday that rendered Twitter, Spotify, Netflix and dozens of other major websites unavailable.
The Department of Homeland Security said it had held a conference call with 18 major communication service providers shortly after the attack began and was working to develop a new set of “strategic principles” for securing internet-connected devices.
DHS said its National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center was working with companies, law enforcement and researchers to cope with attacks made possible by the rapidly expanding number of smart gadgets that make up the “internet of Things.”
Such devices, including web-connected cameras, appliances and toys, have little in the way of security. More than a million of them have been commandeered by hackers, who can direct them to take down a target site by flooding it with junk traffic.
You have to wonder if another federal agency, the NSA, is busy exploiting these same devices to pry into our lives.
Just a thought. . .